I have been a Mac user for many years and generally love the machines but I must warn potential buyers of a problem they may experience. I recently received my new top of the line iMac i7 which is an impressive computer, 27" screen, slim design, wireless keyboard and mouse. The design seemed flawless until I attempted to rip a one of a kind, personal DVD for a family member. It was of a medical nature and she wanted to use a small portion of it for a lecture.
I inserted the disc and found that the computer was having trouble playing it. Upon ejecting the disc I noticed a series of parallel scratches running across its surface. After some time investigating I determined that when a disc is inserted into the iMac computer it has to be done very gently and at a perfectly straight angle. Otherwise the surface of the disc scrapes across the extremely sharp metal slot cut out of the body of the computer that acts as the guide, or "doorway" for the disc.
I tried several blank discs and found the scratches on each one. I could possibly avoid scratching them by being extremely careful but could not guarantee that a disc would be unharmed. I contacted Apple immediately and thus began a lengthy attempt to explain the problem to tech support over the phone. They seemed to think that replacing the drive would solve the problem even though I carefully described the problem as not being with the drive but with the sharp narrow metal loading slot.
I figured I could try gluing some felt over the side that comes in contact with the discs but am afraid of voiding my warranty. I assumed that a problem of this magnitude would be taken seriously by Apple and I assumed a fix would be coming in the form of a thin plastic sleeve insert or a felt strip with double stick tape on one side. I certainly thought that the problem would raise concern but my problem was never solved. On at least two occasions I was met with Apple employees over the phone and in a store saying "Well, what would you like me to do about it?"
I explained that I felt that was for them to figure out, or that at least they should direct me to someone who could help me. I asked that my problem be forwarded to the design team, not only for a possible solution but also to alert them to the issue as early as possible. An e-mail was sent back to my Apple case file from an Apple engineer stating that I would just have to learn to load my discs straight into the computer. Although I have dealt with some very friendly people at Apple I also spoke with some extremely unhelpful employees and I am left with a pretty bad feeling about the way I was treated and that my problem was never resolved.
I went on message boards to see if others were experiencing the same problem. One guy started trying to import his CDs into iTunes and only after the sixth disc was found to be un-readable did he discover that they were being scratched beyond readability. Imagine the cost and inconvenience to everyone who loses data... either irreplaceable or expensive. I expect more from this company and as an investor with Apple stock, I have to say...t his doesn't cut it.
I would like to warn people interested in purchasing an iMac that this may be a problem for them, and that they should check out the machine carefully with blank discs, in a real use situation which does not involve precise robotic handling of disc insertion and removal. I would also like a solution.
Well, I have a rather longish Apple story I feel needs to be shared... My 20" iMac (early 2006 model) fell out of AppleCare warranty on May 8th. On June 1st I awakened to notice it was turned off. Curious, I turned it back on, only to see the dreaded question mark-folder. I spent an hour or so trying to get the HDD to come alive, to no avail (no worries as I have Time Machine running on all my Macs). Unfortunately, as I tried using DiskWarrior, the system got progressively worse, until finally the screen wouldn't light up at all and there was no boot chime. Uh oh...
I took it to the Apple store, where it stayed for almost a month as they tried to find out what was wrong. Unbeknownst to me, eventually, they replaced almost everything in the iMac, never once asking for my approval to do the repairs. I received a call a week ago saying "It's ready, because it took so long, we're not charging you anything for the repair". I was thrilled! The bill turned out to be over $1k, and Apple did it for free. Cool, huh?
But it doesn't end there. I brought the machine home, restored from my TM backup and realized the airport wasn't working, so I went through all the troubleshooting to no avail - back to the Apple store. I wasn't pleased about it, but I was still glowing from their generosity so I didn't complain. Three days and a new (also free) airport card later and I was back home, ready to enjoy my Mac again.
Airport was still broken. OK, now I'm upset. I spent the weekend calming down before doing an erase/install to ensure something from my TM backup wasn't corrupting some network settings. Nope, still no airport. So I drive it all the way back down to the Apple store and wait for about an hour as the Geniuses look it over. Finally, ** (I got to know several of them pretty well, in part due to my laid back approach to all this, which surprised even me) walked up to me and said "Mr **, I have good news!". Thinking they had it figured out, I was relieved.
Then he proceeded to tell me how Apple had decided to replace my iMac with a brand new replacement. Not a refurbished one, but a brand new one. And because my iMac wasn't an 'off the shelf' model, but had been custom ordered with more RAM from the factory, they would increase the RAM in the new machine by the same percentage. Now keep in mind my Mac was not only out of warranty, but Apple had already dismissed close to $1400 in repairs on my old machine before deciding to just give me a new one!
I picked up the new iMac yesterday - they gave me the new one in the box - new keyboard, mouse, everything! Unreal. No company is perfect, but this sort of action is how a company ensures has a customer for life. Kudos to Apple!
I would like to share my recent experience with Apple Computers with your organization. We saved up to buy an IMac G5 in September of 2005. We really only had the budget for a cheaper computer, but had heard such positive things about Mac and I had used one at work and enjoyed it. We spent almost $2000.00 on our new Mac. We believed that Mac was such a better product and company it would be worth the money.
Our opinion has done a complete turn around since November of this year and I cannot believe how little they are concerned about their product and customers. On 24 November, my husband came home from work and went to turn on the computer. It would not power on. It was dead, nothing. He finally got it to come up in safe mode but it would not stay on for long. He did research on the internet, called people, etc. to no avail, we could not figure out what was wrong with it. He made an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar. We had to wait until 27 Dec for it go in to find out what was wrong with it.
My husband was advised by the tech that it "could be" the Hard Drive or it "could be" the logic board, but that he would have to fix both because he could not tell which it was. The total cost would be $1180.93! Almost as much as we had paid for the computer barely over a year ago. We had been unable to extend the warranty on the computer as I was laid off from my job and did not have the money to do so. We were now left with an almost $2000 computer that we could not afford to fix.
I decided to call Apple to see if they had any kind of grace period on their warranties or if there was anything they could do since it was so close to warranty when stopped functioning. I would have been pleased with any assistance at all, and offer to give us the parts discounted or give us any kind of assistance or any indication that they stand behind their products.
What I found when I called was disturbing. The first technical support person was very nice, but basically told me to take it to a non-Apple repair shop because the Genius Bar is really only their for the Warranty customers! She then forwarded me to someone in their "Customer Care" Department. She advised that they could do nothing to assist me. They do not honor or support any products out of warranty even for a minute. (I asked her this specifically!) Their stand is that they offer the extended warranty for a reason and if you can't afford it, too bad for you. Apparently only the wealthy can own Apple computers.
What happened next was the most disturbing of all. I asked to escalate my Customer Service complaint and speak to someone higher up. She refused. She advised that she had given me Apple's decision and that was final. There was no one else I could speak to and no one give me a different answer than her. I explained that I wanted to speak to someone at Apple Corporate so they could understand how their policy affected and average, middle class, Apple customer. She still refused.
She finally said that she could leave a report for one of her managers but there was not guarantee that they would call me back because managers at Apple are not there to talk to customers, they are there simply to make sure that the employees show up for work on time, etc. I was made to feel like, I as a customer did not matter in the least to any person at Apple. After becoming completely upset and irate, I finally managed to get her to give me a number for their corporate offices. I am debating on whether to waste my time calling them, if this customer service person is representative of the mentality of the company.
At this point, I am left with a close to $2000 paperweight with no hope of being able to fix it on my own anytime soon. The saddest part of all is the 7 year old Gateway computer that I replaced with the Apple and gave to my father-in-law still works beautifully and we have spent very little money keeping it updated over the years.
I was experiencing a minor problem and called to see if Apple had a solution. I told the techie what was wrong and he said he wouldn't talk to me until I agreed to pay them $49.95. I really needed the problem fixed, so agreed. The minute I paid the $49.95 the guy said "adjust the speed on your mouse" - voila -- that solved the problem. Absolutely 2 seconds and a few words and he charged me $49.95. I called back to Customer No Service and after going up a level or two to a supervisor and requesting either my money back or an adjustment in the charge, they rudely said, I'm sorry we can't do anything for you and hung up. Now that's the epitome of Customer No Service. I'm angry because I've been a loyal Apple customer for many many years, have purchased almost every product they have from iPhones, Apple TV, 4 iMacs etc. I would think a simple gesture like this for a charge I consider highway robbery would be good customer service. I think it stinks.
CONNECTICUT -- Purchased an iMac at Apple store, came with Leopard disc. Never informed that factory installed Leopards are are not shipped as yet, but will be available in January, AFTER the holidays. No discount on the Safari models, no offer at store to install Leopard OS w/update. Steps to install Leopard via disc take up to three hours, not counting hold time for Apple support. Backup all, remove OS, reinstall Leopard. Not so quick or simple.
After hours on phone, install failed, informed it was a corrupt disc. Rep has dealt with this before, 2x that week. He stated that Apple would send another disc along with confirmation email & phone call. Weeks later: NOTHING, not a disc, call or email. Repeated calls and excruciating wait times on phone have produced the following result:
Nobody has sent you a disc
We cannot send a disc b/c you didn't order online
We cannot tell you who can resolve your problem
We cannot provide a contact to resolve your problem
No, nobody will get back to you
Here is the number for corporate sales, try them
Try the retail store
The retail store: We can't give out discs, you'll have to contact Apple.com if it is a manufacturer problem i.e., corrupt disc
Well, after hours on phone today alone, still no disc. Contacting Better Business Bureau and local TV station along with Attorney General for the state of CT, This is one of the worst customer services experiences I think I've had.
But, it sure is good to know that Apple reps "can appreciate my frustration"
Challenge to Apple: Inform customers that factory installed coming soon and offer discount on new sales of old OS, refunds for ALL who purchased recently without being advised of problems installing Leopard. Compensate those who have spent more than 8 hours on the phone with Apple. Set up customer task force to respond to "unresolvable" issues. Name one reason that I should be satisfied with the service/support at APPLE. If you can't ask yourselves, how is this ethical business practice & why should consumers continue to do business with APPLE?
Strong suggestion: If you are set on APPLE, Wait on that purchase until factory install models are released. Also, request discount or refund if you've already purchased and had to install Leopard or corrupt disc, they are giving these if customer demands I know, but apparently ONLY if you request. Nice eh?
We were "sold" a fantastic superior product with 2nd to none customer service and support. What we received for our $3000 + purchase was completely different.
After 10 weeks of being in possession of our "fantastic" computer, it failed to boot up 3 times, I had to reinstall the Operating system twice, the 3rd time I took it to the store to be checked out. The hard drive had failed. I asked for a replacement. Request refused. Apple kept the computer so they could repair it. 23 days later after many frustrating phone calls with 1-800-APL-CARE, and conflicting tales from the store staff as to when it would be ready, when the parts had come in and what place in line it was, I went to pick up my computer. The next day we took the computer back to the store, as it was not functioning correctly. (A different set of issues than before.)
3 days later my computer was ready. Took it home and it was not functioning correctly. (A different set of issues than before.)
I called the product specialist who had been assigned to our case, he asked me to monitor the CPU usage in the Activity monitor and to call him in a couple of days. I called a couple of days later and left a message with his voicemail. "I'll get back to you in 24 hours............" 3 calls and 7 days later I get annoyed and phone and speak to another product specialist who was really quite rude. "Actually the computer has only been repaired once!" Anyway he set up an "onsite repair" and a tech guy came to my home. (Not special treatment, this is part of your warranty) He replaced ramx2GB, ramx1GB and the logic board. He also discovered that the optical drive was defective and will hopefully be back in a couple of days to replace it. As of now I can't put any discs in the machine, so I hope it won't be too long. My frequent requests for a replacement have been juggled and passed onto others. This time I got a definite "If it doesn't work after the optical drive is replaced then we will replace the computer. " I also got a "If it doesn't work after the 2nd repair we'll look into a replacement." Same person told me this.
At this point I don't want the computer anymore. I want a refund. (I have written a letter to the Apple Headquarters, and hope that that may help) I have I am thoroughly disappointed, angry, frustrated and seriously inconvenienced by this whole experience. I have spent the best part of the summer dealing with tech guys, and telephone support guys. Completely sicked by the whole thing.
The genius bar at Apple is outstanding. They are true experts and always go above and beyond for me. The people working the 'bar' are always sharp, friendly, knowledgeable, and nice.
As a mild criticism, their apple.com website is a bit too busy though. They need to streamline it.
I received a new iMac with Leopard 10.2 in April 08 that couldn't connect to the internet. Tech support asked me to re-install the O/S but it kept getting an unrecoverable error. The Genius bar could not fix it. I returned computer to Apple; the replacement was the same way. Asked for refund but Apple can't figure out how to do the refund internally because I bought the computer through the Sales department and the replacement was provided by Apple Care and those two entities can't agree who and how to give me a refund. This has been the worst computer buying experience I've ever had. When the first machine had to be replaced they told me to drive 2 hours to the nearest Apple store for replacement and guaranteed I'd be taken care of.
Arrived at Apple store and they didn't have a computer to give me and couldn't fix the current one. It just got worse from there; massive confusion at Apple on who does what with a return/refund and how to do it.
Apple is on the brink of becoming the next Microsoft. You've been warned.